Sober half my life already?
Yes, i’ve been sober half my life already. Seems odd when I look back at things. Funny thing is, I tried to make it longer. It was an innocent mistake; at least I’d love to believe it was.
For years I told people that I’d quit drinking and drugging in 1985. Technically that is the truth, however it drank religiously up until 11:20 p.m. Dec. 31st 1985. Yep, 40 minutes shy of 1986. Seems funny now when I look back on it, but it was years before I actually realized what I was doing.
Jan 1st 2018 I celebrated 32 years of abstaining from Drugs and Alcohol. I’ve spent the last 30 years in recovery.
I make the distinction because there is a huge difference.
You see, I’d quit for all the wrong reasons. I quit because I was out to prove to everyone that I didn’t have a problem. I’d made a commitment to “Not” drink for a year, but was going to save all the money I didn’t spend on booze and when the year was up I was going out on a binge until the money I’d saved ran out. <—-as if this isn’t alcoholic thinking. But I was dead serious.
Six months in and something strange happened. My brain began to dry out and I began thinking differently. I didn’t miss the hangovers, or the blackouts, or the tramping around while drunk, but that was about it on the plus side.
I certainly hadn’t changed the way I dealt with life and all of it’s nuances. On the contrary the challenges and all the difficulty was amplified. I just didn’t have the skills or any of the tools for coping so I made life a living hell for everyone around me. Myself included.
I’m not quite sure how it happened, and contrary to everyone’s desires I made the decision to “not” drink again the next year. I guess I needed more amplified misery to get me to a place that had me face the reality of my situation. I began to realize that maybe, just maybe I have more of a problem than I’d believed I had. But it didn’t come smoothly.
My brother and mother come over to my house, i’m sure because my wife and kids had begged them to “talk” to me about my situation. I was sitting in the back yard reading a book and they sat quietly next to me and I remember clearly as my brother Tom, who’d been attending meetings because of problems of his own, asked me if I thought that maybe I had a drinking problem? I couldn’t believe my ears! WHAT was my response. I haven’t had a drink in almost two years, how can I have a drinking problem?
I then promptly asked them to leave my property in very very colourful language. Yep, there was no room for interpretation as to what I meant so they simply got up and left. I was fuming and sat there stewing for what seemed like hours. Then something strange happened, I thought what if I went to an A.A. meeting and that would be the key to shutting everyone up and would solidify my mindset that I didn’t have a problem. I’d show them.
I got out the phone book and found a meeting that was not to far from our house. I walked in and it happened to be an open speaker meeting. Much to my surprise I was greeted by two guys I’d drank copious amounts of alcohol with who I thought had died because I hadn’t seen them at the Legion for years. They were both smiling and greeted me warmly.
I felt odd to say the least. Then it happened, the things I heard, the people I saw and the truth that was hitting my ears got me thinking that my brother had set this up. These people had been told I was coming and they should be sharing the exact things they were speaking about from the front of the room for my benefit. I wanted to scream I was so angry, but my soul had connected and it felt home and like I belonged for the first time ever. My Life was about to change and I didn’t know it.
I’ll continue this saga in another post because the real reason for this is to share that for years I told people that I’d quit everything in 1985 but really I don’t think I could have gotten much closer to 1986.
…to be continued.